Parents' Guide to

Whitney Houston: I Wanna Dance with Somebody

By Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Superstar's rise to fame has mature themes, drug use.

Movie PG-13 2022 142 minutes
I Wanna Dance with Somebody: Movie Poster

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 14+

Based on 4 parent reviews

age 13+

It might not live up to the hypness, but it does deliver a strong performance!

There were a lot of similiar situations/themes in this movie and the movie Elvis. And I guess that bugged me a lot on how similar the themes/situations were from Elvis. Because as much as this was decent enough to see, it was just hard for me to watch this movie knowing what would happen and how similiar it was with Elvis. I do have to give to this movie is how much I learned about Whitney Houston . . . going into this film I knew absouletly nothing about her, but this movie gave me a deep enough insight about her personal life, and her rise to fame and her fall to rehab. I don't know much about her, so I don't know how accruate enough it was, but for me it felt quite accurate through my views, and the actress who played her did such a great job. There were a few things that surprised me in Houston's life that took me a-back just a bit. But finding out the life Whitney lived was interesting enough to keep me still watching! The most frustrating part about this movie (and I've already mentioned this before), is how similiar/familiar this movie is to Elvis. So when I found that out, I pretty much knew the basics that Whitney was going to do! She took plenty of drugs, she had a finiancial matter to deal with, a divorce, etc. Pretty much, the only difference from the two movies is the gender . . . besides that, if you watch one, then you pretty much know the other story. It just got me frustrated even knowing this was Whitney's life, and the directors couldn't change it too much even if they could! I loved Elvis editing . . . it was something unique, and something I don't see much. But this editing, quite the basic. I would have thought they would have done some unique editing to the film, but it's quite basic and plain for such a well-known singer. And I pretty much knew the story for her life . . . and it's played out in 3-parts: Part 1: Rise to Fame | Part 2: Glory and Fame | Part 3: The Fall | So pretty much, you could take this 3-parter in any movie based on famous people because every single famous person has one thing related to each other -- their rise, their good days, and of course their fall. I mean, I wish it wasn't that predictable, but it is how it is! Overall, this movie had some good moments, and I learned a lot about Ii that it didn't feel too boggled down by the lame editing, predictable plot, and similiar/familiar themes from Elvis. It's not a movie I would be dying to see again, but it's one I could see now & then just to refresh my memories on Houston's life!
age 10+

The Life Of Whitney Houston On The Origins

Most people inspired by the 1980s to 1990s pop idol Whitney Houston because children are knowing the origins about the life of Whitney Houston even until her dead in 2012 That is why she is a most talented singer in many years to come

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (4 ):
Kids say (8 ):

Most viewers will know exactly where this biopic is headed, but it avoids becoming a complete downer by concentrating largely on Houston's successes rather than her flaws. As Houston, Ackie is vibrant and sympathetic. She's larger than life, just as Houston was herself, and inhabits the movie's many full-length performance scenes with spine-tingling star oomph. Fans familiar with Houston's onstage high points -- including the 1994 American Music Awards medley that many call her greatest TV turn and her extraordinary 1991 rendition of "The Star Spangled Banner" at Super Bowl 25 -- will likely break out in goosebumps watching Ackie powerfully reenacting those moments (although, no, she's not singing herself, except for a few moments when she sings between snatches of dialogue, though she does an excellent lip synch to Houston's vocals).

But in between high-point performances, things sag a bit. The movie rushes through many parts of Houston's story, a typical problem with films that try to condense decades' worth of life into a two-hour running time. And the movie doesn't seem to have a good idea of why Houston transitioned from being America's sweetheart to becoming a tabloid staple. Problems arise (Daddy steals Whitney's money, Brown cheats) and are just as quickly dismissed. Thankfully, I Wanna Dance with Somebody is refreshingly clear on the nature of Houston's relationship with her lifelong best friend, Robyn Crawford (they were a romantic couple until rumors spread about Houston's sexuality), and doesn't dwell on Houston's hit-bottom points: There's no mention of Brown and Houston's infamous reality show, for instance. Ultimately, though, you're left with the impression that you didn't learn much more about Houston than you knew going in, and that's a bitter pill to swallow considering the film's expansive 2-hour, 26-minute running time. But when Ackie takes the stage as Houston, this drama soars, and for fans, that may be enough.

Movie Details

  • In theaters: December 23, 2022
  • On DVD or streaming: February 7, 2023
  • Cast: Naomi Ackie , Stanley Tucci , Tamara Tunie
  • Director: Kasi Lemmons
  • Inclusion Information: Female directors, Black directors, Female actors, Black actors
  • Studio: TriStar Pictures
  • Genre: Drama
  • Topics: Music and Sing-Along
  • Run time: 142 minutes
  • MPAA rating: PG-13
  • MPAA explanation: strong drug content, some strong language, suggestive references and smoking
  • Last updated: April 25, 2023

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